FREE WILL ASTROLOGY: Wednesday, July 25, 2002

ARIES (March 21-April 19): How frequently do I, your level-headed guide, hand you a blank check for instant gratification, a free pass for unlimited partying, and a poetic license to indulge in what might at any other time be an obscene abundance of luxurious sensation? Not often, my dear. I advise you, therefore, not to sit a minute longer squandering your precious hedonistic opportunities. If this week were a song, it might be called “Wisely Rowdy Playtime.”

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): For the next three weeks, your power symbol will be manna. In the Old Testament it was the delicious food that miraculously materialized to sustain the Israelites as they wandered in the wilderness. The superstars of the New Testament, Jesus and Paul, called it the magical bread of life that provided spiritual nourishment. Updating the concept for your purposes, we’ll define manna as any experience that satisfies your soul’s hunger (though not necessarily your ego’s). I predict that you’ll be able to feast on it in the coming weeks.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): In Why Smart People Can Be So Stupid, a book edited by Robert J. Sternberg, the stupidity scholar David N. Perkins lists eight common traps for individuals who are usually pretty intelligent. I bring his catalogue to your attention, Gemini, because you’re in a rare phase when you may be capable of both extraordinary brilliance and embarrassing foolishness. Please be extra vigilant so that you don’t fall prey to any of the following missteps: impulsiveness, neglect, procrastination, vacillation, backsliding, indulgence, overdoing, tempting fate. (Thanks to Gavin McNett for his review of the book at

CANCER (June 21-July 22): “Where is your belly cord buried?” According to an editorial at, this is the question Native American elders pose in order to find out where you belong. Chances are you don’t know what happened to your umbilical cord, Cancerian, so how about this way to determine your true home: On this earth, are there any power spots that give you shivers or goose bumps? At this juncture in your astrological cycle, you need to be there — at least in your dreams.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Congratulations, Leo. The shrieking gargoyles from the fifth level of hell have decided you’re no longer worth harassing. They’ve headed back to their nasty pit. Same for those pious monsters from the garbage dumps of heaven. For the foreseeable future, in fact, there’s little likelihood that any more demons, bad guys, or jerks will try to tickle you into hysteria with a vulture feather. You are, as we say in the consciousness industry, free.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): If I were your psychotherapist, Virgo, I’d urge you to talk to me about control, manipulation, and how to transform power struggles into mutual empowerment. Whereupon maybe you’d blurt out, “No way, man! I’m bone-weary of you always trying to regulate what we discuss — and of everyone who tries to move me around without any regard for where I want to go.” That’s the exact response I’d have hoped for. It would blast away your excessive humility and the compulsive aspects of your desire to be of service. I bet you’d then set out on a quest to claim the authority and command you have forbidden yourself all these years.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): I hope no one is foolish enough to underestimate you in the coming days. People who see your harmonious grace as a sign of weakness will be flummoxed when they get an up-close look at the iron fist inside your velvet glove. For that matter, people may be amazed both at how multifaceted you are and how skillful you are at expressing all your facets simultaneously. As your soul coach, I know for a fact you’re less fragmented and more integrated now than you’ve been in months. In fact, I’d love to see you unveil the whole uncensored truth of who you are: to get out there and be part-saint, part-wild thing, part beauty-worshiper, and part-hard-ass negotiator.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): I dreamed my horoscope columns were printed on grocery bags in supermarkets all over the world, relentlessly exposing to my counsel the teenage boys working as baggers. They became enthralled with my secret agenda, which is to galvanize the feminine aspect of the Divine Intelligence. Lo and behold, thousands were inspired to place their raw macho energy in service to the Goddess. Soon hordes of young men had created a militantly peaceful supra-national fighting force called the United Snakes of Gaia, striving to reverse the mass extinction of species going on around us. That’s my fantasy of saving the world. Come up with your own version, Scorpio. It’s time to rededicate your life to a power beyond your own personal glory.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Your IQ is already higher than usual and continuing to rise. Why? Maybe because the arousing planet Mars is joining with the Sun and Mercury to massage your brain chemistry in all the places where it has been stuck. Another possible explanation is that you’re tapping into a previously dormant reservoir of what astrologer Kat King calls creagousness, or creative courageousness. Whatever the cause, Sagittarius, I suggest you milk the mystery for all it’s worth. Don’t waste time on trivial conquests like polishing off crossword puzzles or acing personality tests in magazines. Try to solve the riddle of the ages, or at least your longest-running personal problem.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Like many of his contemporaries, Flemish artist Michael Sweerts (1618-1664) painted elegant portraits of rich and famous people. But he rendered his less glamorous subjects with just as much sympathy and respect. His old women have dignity. His peasants radiate nobility. There are even sparks of humanity in his destitute charity cases. I urge you to make him your role model for now, Capricorn. Give yourself as fully to low-status people as you do to influential VIPs. Expect useful teachings to come from those you’ve ignored or dismissed. And care for the flawed and neglected parts of yourself with as much love as you bestow on your shining beauty.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): You won’t get the ride you want this week — unless you desire it with all your heart. You’ll never receive the answer you yearn for unless you’re brave enough to pop a very big question. You simply cannot snag the assignment, the fun, or the wealth you’re seeking unless you forcefully assert how much you deserve and need it. Luckily, Aquarius, the astrological omens suggest that people are unusually receptive to you right now. Can there be any doubt about what to do next?

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): More and more creative people find they do their best work when they’re happy and well adjusted. I know writers who no longer need to be drunk or sick or in agony in order to shed the numbness of their daily routine and claim the full powers of their imagination. I have musician friends whose best songs flow not from the depths of alienation but rather from the heights of bliss. For the recalcitrant throwbacks addicted to old cultural habits, there may still be a fine line between madness and genius. But I speak for many when I say it’s time to laugh that motif into oblivion. Please join the revolution, Pisces. You’re ready to embody this sea change in your own personal life.

Homework: Imagine that the holy books of your religion prescribe laughing prayers as the best way to know God. Share one of those laughing prayers with me at

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